Orlando Hernandez hasn’t thrown a pitch in anger in the big leagues since 2007, and he hasn’t thrown a pitch anywhere this year, but he had not announced his retirement. Until now. At least according to multiple Tweets to that effect, most notably by Jon Heyman.
El Duque pitched nine seasons in the majors, most memorably with the Yankees, for whom he was a key part of their 1998, 1999 and 2000 World Series championships. He got another ring with the White Sox in 2005. In those nine seasons he went 90-65 with an ERA of 4.13 while registering 1086 strikeouts to 479 walks.
But Hernandez was obviously more than a line of stats and some World Series rings. One of the most celebrated Cuban baseball players ever, he famously defected in December 1997. The story was that he was on a leaky raft, risking life and limb. The reality was that he was on a fishing boat with a big-ass engine, and once he reached the Bahamas he was flown to New York on a chartered jet. Hey, it’s showbiz.
Most famously, of course, and certain to be the subject of lots of one-liners as the morning wears on, was the matter of his age. He claimed to be 28 when he defected, but hardly anyone believed that. A few years later it was revealed in some leaked divorce papers that he was born in 1965. While Major League Baseball still lists a 1969 birth date for him, everyone else who matters — Baseball-Reference.com, ESPN, etc. — uses the 1965 date. There have been rumors, however, that he is much older still. It’s rather academic now, at least until he applies for medicare or wants to access his 401K or something.
Always a fun guy, and the dude that should probably have his picture next to the word “crafty” in the dictionary, El Duque — though he has been off the scene for some time — will be missed.
Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.
Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.
According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.
It’s shortstop or bust for Asdrubal Cabrera, who told reporters Friday that he will request a trade from the Mets after getting bumped to second base (via Newsday’s Marc Carig). Cabrera served as the club’s starting shortstop through the first few months of the 2017 season, but lost the role to Jose Reyes while serving a stint on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb. The switch was confirmed prior to the Mets’ series opener against the Giants on Friday, prompting Cabrera to announce his trade request before taking the field.
Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo:
Personally, I’m not really happy with that move,” Cabrera said. “If they have that plan, they should have told me before I came over here. I just told my agent about it. If they have that plan for me, I think it’s time to make a move. What I saw the last couple of weeks, I don’t think they have any plans for me. I told my agent, so we’re going to see what happens in the next couple weeks.
Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson appeared skeptical of Cabrera’s request, telling reporters that he wasn’t sure a trade was “something [Cabrera] really wishes” and saying the team would wait and see how the situation shakes out. That doesn’t mean the veteran infielder will see a return to short anytime soon, however, only that he might have a change of heart after settling into his new role.
This isn’t the first time Cabrera has balked at a position change. The Mets reportedly considered shifting him to third base earlier this season, but ultimately decided to keep him at short and denied his request to pick up his $8.5 million option for 2018, something Alderson said has little to no precedent. Further changes may be on the horizon when 21-year-old infield prospect Amed Rosario gets called up from Triple-A Las Vegas and second baseman Neil Walker returns from the disabled list, though the team has yet to address either situation.